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Barbara Ley Toffler was partner-in-charge of Andersen's Ethics & Responsible Business Practices consulting services. Drawing on her expertise as a social scientist and her experience as an Andersen insider, Toffler reveals that the symptoms of Andersen's fatal disease were evident long before its ties to Enron were revealed and that it was ultimately a uniquely self-destructive culture that led to the firm’s own demise.
In her earlier role as ethics consultant, Toffler worked with over 60 major companies and was an internationally renowned expert at spotting and correcting ethical lapses. Here she traces the roots of Andersen's ethical missteps, and shows the gradual decline of a once-proud culture that led not only to Enron but also to the earlier financial scandals of other Andersen clients, including Sunbeam and Waste Management. She also illustrates how these practices helped pave the way for the accounting fiascos at WorldCom and other major companies.
Chronicling the inner workings of Andersen, which was regarded as the accounting profession's conscience, Toffler reveals how the many peculiarities of the firm, such as the consistent adherence to the adage of "billing your brains out" rather than providing quality work, helped to foster an unethical and unprofessional modus operandi for the firm that was encouraged by executive management.
Praise for FINAL ACCOUNTING:
"Final Accounting....provides an intriguing, sometimes horrifying, look at the atmosphere at Andersen, where obedience and conformity were demanded." —The New York Times
“The lessons of this book are important for everyone, particularly for a new breed of corporate leaders anxious to restore public confidence.”
-Arthur Levitt, Jr., former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission
“You could not ask for a better guide to the fall of Arthur Andersen than an expert on organizational behavior and business ethics who actually worked there. Sympathetic but resolutely objective, Toffler was enough of an insider to see what went on but enough of an outsider to keep her perspective clear.”
—Nell Minow, Editor, The Corporate Library
“Toffler’s book should be must reading among CFOs and directors who worry about getting fleeced while they pursue quality auditing or corporate ethics….[Final Accounting] offers valuable retracing of the once lofty firm’s false first steps.”
"The sad demise of the once proud and disciplined firm of Arthur Andersen is an object lesson in how 'infectious greed' and conflicts of interest can bring down the best. Final Accounting should be required reading in every business school, beginning with the dean and the faculty that set the tone and culture.”
—Paul Volker, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board
"Toffler knows [Arthur Andersen] from the inside: after stints as a Harvard Business School faculty member and a consultant, she served four years (1995-99) as the partner-in-charge of AA's Ethics and Responsible Business Practices Group (fighting a losing fight; she's now on the Columbia Univ. Business School faculty). This volume is her report of her experiences in a formerly well respected accounting firm....A tale well told--and sobering....Recommended. Public, academic, and professional library collections." --CHOICE Magazine